28DL Regular User
‘The Ewart Chainbelt Co Ltd… The Name in Chain’
Ewart Chain was originally set up by Derbyshire-born industrialist Sir Francis Ley in 1880 as an offshoot of his existing & neighbouring business - the successful and vast ‘Vulcan Ironworks’ of Leys Malleable Castings. The foundry was the largest of its type in Europe, covering 40 acres at its peak and employing 3,500 people, with another 200 at the chainbelt site.
The company specialised in manufacturing heavy duty industrial and agricultural, steel and forged chains – including in later years a specialised department for the manufacturing of plastic conveyor chains.
Ley himself died in 1916 and his Vulcan ironworks went into voluntary liquidation in 1988 but Ewart’s continued until 2018 when it too went bust. The assets were quickly snapped up by ‘Ewart Agri Services’ and recently redundant workers were offered their jobs back.
Manufacturing continued into 2021 until it was quietly announced that the site had been purchased by Morgan Industrial Properties with demolition of the 5-acre site to begin asap to allow redevelopment for 90,000 square feet of new-build industrial space, ending 141 years of chain manufacturing in Derby.
1894 product catalogue
As with the Garrandale site the year before, I can never seem to time these local demo site intrusions right, always a bit too late and always end up disappointed. Part of the site which backs on to Osmaston Road has looked absolutely hanging for years and years (turns out this bit was a big ‘decommissioned’ area), but it was only when I noticed part of the roofing had been removed that I realised the company had actually stopped production a few months previously and head office had moved elsewhere… Fail!
A drone shot courtesy of the demo team
Completely empty inside unfortunately, just big empty spaces smelling of oil
This area is marked as 'saws' on the plan - I think it may be the same area as the 1928 b&w picture
The long since decommissioned area which unfortunately had some of its roofing removed
That was about it. There was still a bit of the place standing last time I drove past but probably not for very long.